Sustainability & Tech
Understanding the Technology Behind the Fleets | Run on Less pt. 2
September 21, 2017
The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and the Carbon War Room launched Run on Less – a first of its kind, live event putting today’s most innovative and effective fuel efficiency technology to the test in real world conditions with near-real time tracking of truck performance. What makes this event so unique?
The fleets involved in this experiment were chosen for two major reasons: 1) for the forward-thinking use of new technologies in harmony to create the best fuel efficiency in the industry, and 2) because they are representative of what trucks across the country experience daily – variability of loads, weather, geography, and time.
Run on Less started because of a desire to incite real, actionable change in the industry. To make that change real, the Run on Less campaign is prioritizing quantifiable data to communicate the outcomes of each technology.
NACFE and the Carbon War Room have provided valuable information on trucking technologies available today and those coming in the near future at their website: truckingefficiency.org. The group has created a multitude of confidence reports, which take an in-depth look at over 80 different technologies and analyze their efficiency gains and viability as a commercial solution. Truckingefficiency.org also releases annual fleet studies that identify trends in technology adoption and overall efficiency results from a group of 17. Specific to the Run on Less program, tractor and trailer aerodynamic equipment, anti-idle technologies, and tire pressure monitoring devices are consistently used across most fleets to achieve fuel efficiency results. More impressive are the differences that exist between the trucks– tractor make/model, axle configurations, and transmission choices all vary to meet freight demands and preferences of the fleets. Run on Less is truly taking the technologies off the pages of the confidence reports and displaying them in action.
Mike Roeth, Executive Director of NACFE says, “All of these trucks are orderable—every gear ratio, every tire, everything is orderable. Now the drivers are pretty special. They’re good at what they do, so that helps with the fuel economy, but this isn’t about ‘trucks of the future,’ it’s about real freight, real trucks, real drivers.” Roeth says that understanding the accessibility and reality of these innovations and driving wide adoption is their biggest hopeful outcome for the event.
One of the most compelling factors to consider when analyzing the data and results generated by Run on Less is that nothing within the experiment is controlled or tampered with. Trucks are hauling the freight they normally would on routes they usually take. This brings important context to the numbers.
“A truck full of potato chips is much, much lighter than a truck of frozen meat,” says Roeth. “So a truck doing 8.5 or 9mpg hauling a full load of frozen meat is every bit as impressive as one hauling potato chips and doing 12mpg.”
One independent variable that has played a significant role throughout the event is weather. With Hurricanes Harvey and Irma sweeping through the southeast United States, the lone truck hauling in that area saw very different results because of wind speeds. This variability is not seen as a failure—quite the contrary. The variability is meant to paint a comprehensive picture of how fuel economies will vary across fleets, freight, and geography, but that change is possible across the board. Roeth says,
“What we are talking about here in some ways is change, and we are trying to change a whole culture,”
He says time and again that this is their message – change is possible.
Watch the Results
As Run on Less nears its completion on September 24th where the seven trucks will converge at the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) inaugural show in Atlanta, follow the results live on their website www.runonless.com and monitor the conditions and efficiency of each fleet. As of now, results are “looking as we would expect” says Roeth, and he is hopeful for what the future of the data will bring.
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